Posts Tagged With: 91

Kristoff GC Robusto

I met Kristoff owner Glen Case a few years ago at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund, Germany right after my then employer decided to distribute the brand. And it sold, like hotcakes, due to the cool look with the closed foot and the pigtail, the packaging with the loose tobacco, the quality of the cigars, the flavor and the price. It was a home run and ever since we always have a little chat even though I no longer work for that company.


The GC series never made it to The Netherlands though, so I was glad that Glen gave me a robusto at the most recent intertabac trade show to review and he said that it was his favorite Kristoff offering. Now I haven’t smoked all of them and so far the Cameroon blend is my favorite but maybe this one will change that, keep reading and you’ll find out. The cigar is available in four vitolas, a robusto, torpedo, churchill and a gordo.


The Brazilian maduro wrapper looks great, dark and a little rough but the roughness fits the color. The pig tail and closed foot are Kristoff signatures by now and add that to an evenly packed cigar for a great construction. The ring is burgundy with golden letters and a silver & white banner. The medium strong aroma reminds me of charred wood and manure.


I cut the cigar since punching isn’t an option with the pigtail. The cold draw is fine, I taste licorice, raisin and pepper. After lighting I taste a strong and full coffee with earthy tones and a sugar sweetness. After half a centimeter I taste wood, sweetness and a hefty pepper. Halfway I taste a wood with a little licorice, some pepper and a little lemon in the aftertaste. The flavors are very meaty and peppery. The final third is peppery with a great dose of lemon.


The draw is good. The smoke is a little thin, light gray but the volume is good. The silver gray ash has beautiful rings, is dense and is firm. This is a full bodied, full flavored cigar with a perfect burn. The smoke time is an hour and fifty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope this cigar makes it to the Dutch market.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Kristoff | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gurkha Ghost Shadow

I have done a handful of Gurkha reviews and to be honest, most weren’t that impressive to me. I think the problem with the brand is that they don’t have DNA, their cigars are all made in different factories, the brand focusses on marketing and does crazy stuff with super expensive cigars dropped in super expensive alcohol and other marketing tricks. That doesn’t help the reputation of the brand amongst serious cigar smokers like me. But this Gurkja Ghost, I always thought that one was quite enjoyable, maybe because it’s made at PDR, a factory I like.


Now, even though most of the cigars are a miss, I can’t say the same about their sales manager Juan Lopez, I met him years ago in Miami in a cigar bar, the next day me and my friend went to the Gurkha office and that’s beautiful. From the outside its a boring office building, the first floor is just cubicles but then upstairs a beautiful lounge, like you’re back in 1800’s Asia, with a huge bar full of expensive liquor and a secret room where all the blends are kept. And Juan hooked us up with cigars, backpacks, knives and all sorts of cool items. So it was cool to see Juan at Intertabac this year, where he handed me a few cigars to smoke.


The wrapper is typical Brazilian arapiraca, a bit rough to look at with sturdy veins, not thick but sturdy. The color is dark and even though, so that makes up for it and the ring fits the wrapper. It is black and silver, with the Gurkha logo and scary lettering saying ghost. The ring is different than what you usually find in humidors. The construction is great, the triple cap is straight. The cigar has a strong earthy smell, earthy as if you’re walking in nature, early in the morning after a good rainfall.


I cut the cigar with a butterfly cutter from Xikar. The cold draw is good. I taste tobacco and some pepper. I taste a strong coffee after lighting the cigar with my soft flame lighter. A few puffs later I taste a mild acidic oak with cocoa bean. Halfway I taste a mild pepper with some lime and wood. A little later some honey sweetness shows up too. The final third I taste a nice, mildly sweet, wood with some spices, all balanced though. The flavors become very nice, wood, mocha, sugar, chocolate all in a creamy way.


The draw is great, the light ash has beautiful rings and it’s firm. The smoke is medium thick, medium full. The burn is close to perfect. I would call this cigar medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a pleasant cigar, not the best I had but enjoyable.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Gurkha, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cigar of the month December

The final month of 2017 so the final ‘cigar of the month’, tomorrow I’ll be posting my top 25 but for now I focus on what December 2017 brought me.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V Figurado (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Viking Nordic Warrior Churchill (Dominican Republic) 93 points
3) C.A.O. Amazon Basin Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Cornelius & Anthony Señor Esugars (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Bespoke Tradicional Cottontail (Dominican Republic) 91 points
6) Punch Platino Double Corona (Cuba) 90 points
7) Xiphos Habano Lonsdale (Costa Rica) 90 points
8) Colon Lancero (Panama) 89 points
9) C.A.O. Angry Santa Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
10) Manowar Virtue Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
11) C.A.O. Evil Snowman (Nicaragua) 87 points

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Bespoke Traditional Cottontail

Even though we have so many mutual friends and we have been Facebook friends for a while, I never met Jeremy Casdagli in person until my friend Nasier introduced us at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund last september. We chatted a little about tobacco and Jeremy was so kind to give me the Bespoke Traditional Cottontail for a review on my blog, well, as promised, here’s the review.


The cottontail is a vitola that was extinct for over half a century until Bespoke started making this vitola again, its a 5 inch long cigar that starts out with a ring 52, a robusto you might say but at the foot it’s 62 ring gauge and that makes it a figurado. Now I’m no fan of big ring gauges but because of this shape I’m intrigued on how it smokes and what it does for the development of flavors since the filler to wrapper ratio changes from start to finish.


The moment I take the cigar out of the cellophane I am hit by a strong aroma, hay and straw, very nice. The shape of the cigar and the closed foot are very unique and I love it. The wrapper has a nice coffee color, a little oil and no real visible veins, its a smooth looking cigar. The green and golden ring is very traditional, as the name suggests, not specifically my taste but of a good quality printing.


I used my Xikar double guillotine cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is crazy hard but that’s because of the closed foot. I taste spices and pepper. I used my vintage lighter to light the cigar. After lighting the draw opens and I taste a nice, smooth coffee with some nutmeg and a honey sweetness. After a third I taste creamy buttery toast and cedar with cinnamon and nutmeg. A bit lily French toast. Halfway I taste a creamy vanilla, like melted vanilla ice cream with some toast. The final third is more like a five spice mix with a little bit of pepper and some vanilla in the aftertaste.


The draw is fine. The light gray ash is firm and dense. The burn started a little off, it’s hard to get an even burn with a closed door but it corrected itself. The smoke is thin though, unfortunately. This is a medium bodied, medium full flavored cigar.  The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind smoking it more often.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Bespoke, Dominican cigars, KBF | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Gran Reserva Robusto

Yesterday I published my review of the 2005 limited edition Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970 Gran Reserva, a name that surfaced again in 2017 as a new release by Joya de Nicaragua, not as a limited edition this time but as a full, three vitola, line with an updated blend and updated artwork. The blend is all Nicaraguan tobacco, all aged for a minimum of five years.


A week before the Intertabac trade show I ran into Juan Martinez at the Cigaragua store in Amsterdam, a shop that sells only Nicaraguan cigars, a concept that in my opinion can grow bigger than the La Casa del Habano franchises and Juan handed me the new Joya Antano 1970 Gran Reserva and a Todos Las Dias by Steve Saka, which is made at the Joya factory too. I will review the Todos Las Dias in a few days.


There is a difference in rings, the new version has a slightly clearer picture but the Antano name is easier to read and the sides of the ring are cleaner, the secondary ring is golden with red and white line and black letters and looks so much better than the old ring. The dark wrapper, with a vein running over the front, feels velvet like to the touch. The cigar is evenly packed and beautifully finished. The cigar has a strong aroma, hay, straw and some smokey barbecue aroma.


I cut the cigar and how else than with my Joya de Nicaragua branded cutter. The cold draw is great, it’s a little peppery. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste coffee, pepper and herbs. After a few puffs the flavor changes to an earthy chocolate with some creamy sweetness. After a third I taste a strong pepper bit a vanilla cream background and a minty aftertaste. Halfway it’s pepper, cream and a little earthy flavor, smooth but strong. With little over an inch to go I taste a nice charred wood, with a mellow pepper and the flavors are creamy.


The draw is good and the smoke is plentiful but only medium thick.  The color is grayish. The burn is straight as an arrow. The ash had a yellowish glow but its firm. Even though this is a strong cigar, full bodied and full flavored, it’s balanced so the strength isn’t out of range with the flavor. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a treat, new to the market and I have no doubt it will do great.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Da Byrdman Boys Club

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Da Byrdman Boys club

 


The november edition, and unfortunately the last of the one Wild Bunch series I have, is named after Ashley Byrd, co-founder of the B&B cigar club in Washington. It’s a 6×54 Toro Gordo with a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper over Nicaraguan tobaccos. The wrapper is dark, I can see some stripper glitter from the minerals but also two thick veins. The construction feels good and the ring is consistent with the rest of the series, I like them very much, all of them. The aroma is a strong stable aroma with ammonia like the hay is drenched in urine and is in dire need of replacement.

 


I punched the cigar and get a great cold draw with a sultana flavor. After lighting I taste a spiced coffee. After a few puffs the cigar is floral and vanilla sweet. After a third the cigar changes, now I taste dry herbs with still vanilla. The cigar stays dry and turns to dry wood, mild spicy, cumin and peppery.

 


The draw is fantastic. The firm ash is light gray. The white smoke is thick and full. The burn is straight as can be. This cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? Again that would be impossible.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Gearhead Gary Crankshaft

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Gearhead Gary Crankshaft


September brought us the Wild Bunch Gearhead Gary Crankshaft, a 6×52 torpedo with a Habano Maduro wrapper from Ecuador over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The wrapper has the color of autumn leaves and is oily. The ring fits the rest of the series and the cigar feels well packed, the shape of the torpedo is flawless. The cigar doesn’t only have the look of autumn leaves, it even smells like a forest in the fall, I imagine an early morning hike and smelling this.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is a little on the loose side. I taste a mild spicy hay with a peppery aftertaste. After lighting I taste a full coffee with cedar and some sweetness. The sweetness is getting stronger quickly. After a third I taste spices and herbs with a little metallic aftertaste. Halfway the cigar gets a nutmeg and fennel flavor. The final third starts sweet again but with cedar and spices. Near the end I get a dry feeling in my mouth with dried herbs as flavor with some floral notes.


The draw is a little easy but within margins. The smoke is thick and full. The light colored ash is quite firm. The burn is straight. I would call this cigar medium full flavored. The smoke time is two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? Impossible, but I would like to.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Wild Bill Cheroot

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

 

Wild Bill Cheroot


Wild Bill Cheroot is a 6×46 Corona Gorda with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around Nicaraguan filler and binder. The ring is in the same style and with an ace of spades between Wild & Bill at the bottom banner. The wrapper is nice dark with a thin vein, quite oily and a velvet feel. The cigar feels well packed and the little pig tail makes the cigar a looker. The aroma is quite strong and smells a lot like a spice mix that you smell when you’re walking passed Asian street food in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia or Singapore.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is flawless and mild spicy. After lighting I taste a nice spiced coffee. The flavor changes to a pleasant toast with spices, pepper and vanilla. The flavors are very smooth and balanced. Halfway the pepper grows in strength. Slowly a mild acidity shows up too. The pepper becomes really strong and overpowering, that it disturbs the balance.


The draw is amazing and it results in a thick full smoke. The salt and pepper colored ash is quite firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The burn is good. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a nice cigar and if I would be able to get a few I would, but would smoke them in the morning.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cigar of the month September

It’s the end of the month, so it’s time to publish my list. What’s the best cigar I rated this month and what’s the worst?

The cigar with the highest rate in September  is:

My Father Commemorate 911 Rosado Habano

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) My Father Commemorate 911 Robusto (Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Alec Bradley Fine & Rare Torpedo (Honduras) 93 points
3) La Flor Dominicana Airbender Lancero (Dominican Republic) 92 points
4) Rocky Patel Royale Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Undercrown Shade Flying Pig (Nicaragua) 91 points
6) Cornelius & Anthony Venganza Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
7) Arturo Fuente Opus X BBMF (Dominican Republic) 90 points
8) H. Upmann Mag 46 (Cuba) 89 points
9) Bunch Toro (Nicaragua) 88 points
10) Vega Fina Summum 2013 Toro (Dominican Republic) 87 points
11) Bunch Robusto (Nicaragua) 84 points
12) Amero Short Robusto (Dominican Republic) 82 points
13) Bunch Short Robusto (Nicaragua) 82 points

 

 

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Cornelius & Anthony Venganza Robusto

Imagine, you’re fifth generation in a certain industry, you and your ancestors have done really well and your company is making good money but for the last two decades health organizations and lobbyists have been bashing your industry, legislation has become heavier and heavier over the years, the numbers of consumers are on the decline worldwide what would you do with possibly industry ending legislation in the future? Keep on going the path you’re on now and possibly see the company vanish in two or three generations or expand into a growing segment of the industry, a segment that has less of a stigma and less legislation? That was the question Steven Bailey from S&B Brands was facing, his family has been farming tobacco for roll your own tobacco and cigarettes for 150 years but with current and pending legislation that is now becoming dangerous ground to depend on. So he made the choice to enter the premium hand made cigar industry as well with a new brand called Cornelius & Anthony, a tribute to the first Bailey to grow tobacco, Cornelius Bailey and Anthony is Steven’s second name.


The brand came out with four lines, the Cornelius, which I was the first review I posted this year, the Daddy Mac (will make you jump jump) named after his father Mac, who everybody in the company calls Daddy Mac, the Meridian and the Venganza. The first one is produced in Miami at the famous El Titan de Bronze factory on SW 8th street, ala Calle Ocho in the Cuban district Calle Ocho in Miami, the other three lines are made in Eric Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. I consider myself a lucky man that I’ve been to both factories, I spend quite a few hours at El Titan de Bronze and have sat on the balcony at La Zona, overseeing Esteli, with a great cigar, good coffee and the entertaining company of Hector Alfonso.


This 5×50 Robusto, made with Nicaraguan filler and binder wrapped into an Ecuadorian wrapper, was a gift from Steven, Courtney Smith and Todd Vance when I met them at Intertabac 2016. I knew Courtney from her stint with La Palina and we talked about cigars and she gave me a handful of the Venganza, Daddy Mac and Cornelius to try. When I take the cigar out of the cellophane I feel a smooth wrapper, which is medium dark with a nice oily shine to it. The cigar feels well packed but at the top, where the beautiful triple cap ends, I feels a soft spot all around the head of the cigar. The ring is beautiful, very detailed with gold, white and black on an olive green background and a secondary ring in red with gold with the venganza name on it. The cigar has an aroma that comes close to the dry food we fed the sheep when I was a kid. Not that I was a farmer, we had a farm field behind our house and the farmer that owned that land had sheep and cows, in the spring when the sheep had lambs he gave us a 100lbs bag of dry food and asked to give that to the sheep every evening so he wouldn’t have to come by every day and me and my sister loved feeding those fluffy friendly walking bundles of wool.


I punched the cigar and found a very easy cold draw with a mild bitter cocoa and tea flavor. I taste a mild bitter wood with coffee and earthy notes. I also taste some chocolate. Slowly I start to taste a growing pepper too and a little sweetness. After a third I taste nuts with pepper, very nice. The pepper grows stronger.


The draw is too loose, so loose that it will effect the rating in a negative way but only with half a point as the draw gets better along the way. The smoke is thick and full. The burn is a little off but I didn’t have to correct the burn. The pepper and salt ash is firm. This is a full bodied, full flavored cigar. The cigar is well balanced and has depth. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes! They will be available in Germany.

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, Cornelius & Anthony, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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